Connection Challenge & Vegan Flapjacks

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From March 2020 ……

We are into our second week of lock-down here in New Zealand though many here have decided to use a Māori reference of rāhui instead.  I kind of like that term so may begin adopting it … rather than using a term of imprisonment! I have to be honest though and say that not much has actually changed for our whānau aside from Himself working from home and the few activities we partook in being cancelled.  We are now adjusting to online keyboard lessons, judo via YouTube and Rangers (Girl Guides) on Zoom 🙂

Rahui

It has given me a bit more time to do some other work, hence the time to blog and bake 🙂  It has also inspired me to create a bit of a challenge for people – a connection challenge.  With the mail stopped (well for us anyway) and all these businesses bombarding my inbox with their updates I thought it would be great to receive some real mail from friends and family.  I have begun with an email to a friend, themselves have done likewise.

The best thing is that it made me feel great that I may be putting a smile on someone’s face and that there may just be an email coming back to put a smile on mine!  I know that everyone has gone on social media more but there is nothing like a personal letter/email to really make you feel that you are connected.  All the more important at the moment when you can’t physically connect. It could be to a loved one, a friend or even someone you have admired for a while.  Copy the photo below and share as much as you want on Social media …. just get writing as well 🙂

Connection challenge with border
Give it a go … it will make you feel great!

So I thought I should give you a bit of nourishment to see you through all those letters/emails of connection that you’ll be writing 🙂  This is a flapjack recipe which I have adapted to make it vegan.  I only discovered these delicious morals when we lived in Ireland and then I couldn’t get enough of them!  Those of you in Ireland and the UK will know them well with the name flapjack.  Those of you in NZ may know them as porridge biscuits … so I have been informed.  Either way they are a quick, easy and delicious treat.

Vegan Flapjacks

300gm rolled oats (the smaller ones are better)

50gm desiccated coconut

75gm coconut sugar

125gm coconut oil

40ml maple syrup

  • Melt oil and stir in sugar and maple syrup until well mixed.
  • Add to rolled oats and coconut mixture and mix well again.
  • Place in a baking paper lined tin (I used 23cm x 20 cm size tin).  Pressing it down flat as much as possible.
  • Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins or until you can see that the oats are golden. 160 C if you have a fan oven
  • Take out of the oven and score into squares while it is warm.
  • Allow to cool fully in the tin before removing.   Storing them in the fridge to really set them is good as the coconut oil does soften quickly
  • ENJOY!
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Warm out of the oven

Until the next blog … whenever that fancy grabs me …. kia ora, kia kaha ā kia manawanui (Be well, be strong and be patient)

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Sweet treats

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For a long time now I have been trying to make vegan meringues. I say trying because aside from an initial failed attempt when I was sugar free I have thought about this more than actually doing anything. So, with Christmas coming up and the vegans in the house trying to think of yummy stuff we can indulge in, vegan meringues have come onto my radar again.

Mum had traditionally made meringues with themselves whenever we went there for Christmas …. well they watched and got to lick the egg beater afterwards which is probably the best way to bake if you ask me! But since those times, himself and I have become vegan and Mum is no longer with us. So, meringues (and pavlova but that is another topic) have been dropped from the menu for quite awhile.

This year though I decided to change that and with a tin of chickpeas in hand I began to look up vegan meringue recipes. Last time, without sugar, my meringues didn’t set hard and definitely still tasted very chickpea flavoured. Not such a delicious dessert it has to be said. It was clearly a memory etched into himself’s head as he actually tried to dissuade me from even trying them again! Not one to be deterred easily though, once my mind was set on something, I stumbled on. Thanks to the internet and The Plant Based School I found a quick and easy recipe to follow …. you must know my style by now don’t you 🙂 Just aquafaba (chickpea juice from the can) and sugar whizzed together and then baked.

On the tray ready to bake

I have to say that all was going pretty well and I was feeling pretty smug. That is until I realized our new gas oven won’t stay at a low enough temperature! With a bit of fiddling we managed to get it under the minimum setting and continued with fingers crossed. The results? Well, they weren’t too bad in the end though maybe a little browner than a usual meringue. Himself was impressed (so was I just quietly) and we counted it a success. The only thing was what do you put with them? They were super sweet so needed something less sweet to balance them and obviously the usual cream accompaniment was out. The problem resolved itself fairly quickly though in the fact that himself gobbled them up before I came up with any feasible ideas.

I wasn’t that convinced about having the meringues as a dessert even with himself saying otherwise. Then I was reminded of a dessert my Mum made one time she stayed with us which involved meringue, custard and fruit. Maybe this would be a better option for our Christmas dessert. With rhubarb in season it would be the perfect balance to all that sugar. I hadn’t actually made it by myself, I have to say. When Mum did make it with me I had an almost two year old ‘helping’ and was pregnant with our second so the memory of it was a bit scratchy to say the least. This didn’t stop me sharing the recipe with family though so I thought I should probably give it a go myself.

Another internet search for vegan custard and we were away laughing, so to speak. Basically the recipe is a layering of fruit, cold custard and uncooked meringue which then gets baked in the oven at a low temperature (30mins at 120C). Mum had peaches in hers but as I mentioned I thought it needed a bit of balancing with something less sweet. The local markets obliged nicely with some fresh rhubarb which I stewed up minus sugar (our usual way of having it) and then got the custard brewing so both of them could have time to cool. The final steps were whizzing the meringue up and layer it all before baking. The result wasn’t that great to look at (I’m blaming the temperature of my oven again for the brown top and the fact that vegan custard is white rather than yellow) but the taste was great and a win all round.

Not the prettiest but the taste made up for it

Because I don’t really want to be in the kitchen all day on Christmas day I’ve decided that instead of the baked version I am going to do an ‘Eton Mess’ style in a glass. I’ll make the meringues the day before … and hide them! … along with the stewed fruit and custard. Then on the day people can just stack and layer how they like into a glass. Well that is the plan anyway 🙂

As I write this ‘recipe’ I do wonder why I actually write about food on here. I’m certainly not the greatest of chefs that is for sure and I certainly don’t have all the brightest and best gadgets nor all the best solutions. I guess though I’m trying to share that if I can do it and have some fun then so can you! Thank goodness for all those real foodies out there is all I can say!

Hope this finds you experimenting and enjoying the luxury of having enough to eat.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Home comforts of GF bread on the road

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I have been craving a bit of carbs lately and so have been digging up a few of my favourite recipes. This bread is so easy and delicious I thought I would share it again. Rather than inventing the wheel though I’m taking the easy way out and re-blogging my original post 🙂 The Gluten free flours can be changed up as you like too … I now use quinoa instead of chickpea flour in this recipe and it still tastes just as good. From August 2017, when we were still living on the bus rather than just holidaying in it ……

So, I know … it has been a while since I posted, longer than I planned anyway.  It seems that one down side to bus life in Winter is the reduced solar power we have.  My old laptop is the one thing on the bus that needs to be plugged into a regular (i.e. not solar) plug and sucks up the power fast which means that I either have to duck into the library to use it for any length of time or wait until a sunny day! Well here it is a sunny Sunday afternoon and I thought I would get onto a blog post at last.

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Themselves in the bus … looking south to Oaro

We are just back from a quick overnighter down the coast.  It was only 30 mins away and yet with SH1 closed it was such an awesome break.  Parked up right on the beach without the hum of traffic made us all feel very spoilt and themselves spent hours on the rocky shore exploring and playing.  It is wonderful having our home with us where ever we travel and being able to have those home comforts too.  One home comfort I have been enjoying lately is some homemade Gluten Free bread (and toast).  The shop stuff is good but it usually comes a quite a price and invariably gives me a bad case of wind …. enough said!!

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Slices so well and I even got an ‘It looks just like shop bread’ seal of approval comment.

Anyway … this recipe is one that I shared last year but if you are like me and completely forgot about it while basking in the Summer sun then here it is again.  Actually I have a lovely mum from one of Infant Massage Courses to thank for the reminder and I’m so glad she did.  This loaf recipe is super easy!!  It is my favourite kind of recipe in fact … the chuck it all in and bake kind ;).  I have changed it only a little since last time so as to accommodate my vegan child however you can’t really tell anything is different and it makes a fantastic loaf.  This GF loaf will last quite a few days in an airtight container, slices really well and can be frozen for toasting later.  I have to say, with many other recipes tried and tested, that this really is my favourite Gluten Free bread recipe. Hope you enjoy it too.

Gluten Free Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Yeast
  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
  • 8 tsp black chia seeds
  • 8 tsp boiling water
  • Sprinkle of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil

– In a large bowl whisk the water and yeast and leave for 10 minutes to activate.

– Add all dry ingredients apart from chia seeds and mix well

– Mix chia seeds and boiling water then add to bread mixture with the oil.

– Mix well and pour into a lined bread tin.

– Leave to rise for 10-15 mins.  It doesn’t rise much on baking so if you want a bigger loaf then leave it to rise longer before cooking.

– Bake at 170 C for 45 minutes.

-Enjoy!!

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and warm,  possibly enjoying some yummy GF toast 😉

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Banana & Walnut Bread

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Without any face to face Infant Massage or Baby Reflexology courses lately there hasn’t been a pressing need for baking. The other month however, after herself baked and decorated yet another master piece, I felt like making something a little sweet for me too. That combined with all the rainy weather we have been having has sent me into the kitchen to create!

Cloudy skies that lighten for a bit before pouring with rain

The trouble is that so many things don’t agree with me that it can be hard to find something to hit the spot. Something vegan and gluten free was required. Combined with this I have been trying to have a better relationship with the food I’m putting in my body; being more mindful about what comes in, how often it comes in and how it impacts my health. There are definitely up and down days however on the whole I am feeling much better physically and mentally as a consequence. As part of that process I have been finding and using a lot more vegan recipe books from the library in a bid to nourish my body and of course find some new sweet treat recipes.

Although I have shared another Banana and Walnut Bread recipe a few years back, I really think this one is much better as it is a more flavoursome and denser. It is a super easy, fail safe recipe however in my usual style it is an adaption from the recipe I first saw, which was called Banana Bread, to suit both what I had in the cupboard and my own tastes. While I found the original recipe in ‘Vegan Intermittent Fasting’ by Dr Petra Bracht, which despite the name actually has a whole heap of delicious recipes, what follows is my adaption of it. The book is worth the purchase or at least getting it out of the library just for the nourishing recipes within!

Sliced up ready to enjoy

As with most of the bread recipes I use, I cut up the loaf on the first day and freeze the slices. Two slices per bag waiting to be toasted up and enjoyed at a later date. This recipe toasted up better than most and is so nice warm that I highly recommend using this option for yourself …. or enjoying it straight out of the oven! The recipe in ‘Vegan Intermittent Fasting’ used chocolate but as my body doesn’t like it very much, this was swapped out for walnuts. Not only because I love them but because of they are good for the brain and body. I also changed the flours to create a gluten free version using a combination of two gluten free flours. Completely omitting the sugar from the recipe created an even healthier sweet treat too.

Banana & Walnut Bread

  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 3 ripe bananas (I often use frozen too)
  • 100ml unsweetened soy milk
  • 3 Tbs Almond Butter
  • 1 Tbs Apple cider Vinegar – see here if you want to make you own for next time 🙂
  • 150gm buckwheat flour
  • 150gm rice flour
  • 60gm chopped walnuts
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 Tbs baking powder

– Preheat the oven to 180°C

– Blend the first five (wet) ingredients together until smooth and well combined. I just have a hand blender that I use as everything fits in the large ‘cup/jug’ that comes with it

– Mix the last six (dry) ingredients in a bowl

– Combine the wet and the dry ingredients ensuring that you mix really well. There is a tendency for the walnuts to get a flour coating on them if everything is not blended well

– Pour the mixture into a baking paper lined load tin

– Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.

– Remove from the oven, you should be able to easily lift the loaf out with the sides of the baking paper, and place on a cooling rack.

– Allow it to sit for at least 15 mins before slicing and enjoying with a cuppa 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Frozen Vegan Fudge Ice Cream

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With my newsletter due out in the next few weeks it always makes me realise just how little I have been on here! It makes sharing the blog post on my newsletter a little tricky so I thought I’d better rectify things 🙂 In my defense we have been away in the bus while herself was on the Spirit of Adventure, I’ve been busy with more reflexology clients as well as teaching and aside from that we have been having Sundays completely off screens and internet as a family. As Sunday is usually the day I write my blog I often forget about blogging until mid week, when I’m working, which then means I just don’t get on here.

The Spirit of Adventure coming back into Auckland

While I do have a vegan chocolate chip cookie I’m working on for next week’s blog I thought it was a good chance to share another recipe we have been enjoying. I found this quick and easy recipe for Coconut fudge in an Australian Women’s Weekly recipe book that was in sight as I waited at the checkout. Due to it’s adaptability it has been a winner for us, especially with the few good days that Summer and Spring offered us. Themselves think it tastes like hard ice cream despite it being called fudge in the recipe. Hence our slight name change 🙂

The original recipe had tahini in it however themselves weren’t that impressed with that so we have tried a few alternatives. Substituting in almond butter, all nut butter and peanut butter have all been successful here though I have to say that the batch I made with almond butter and golden syrup (because I had run out of maple syrup) was the favourite so far and the fastest to disappear. We have been cutting it into small blocks and eating like that straight from the freezer however you can also leave it out for bit to soften. I used black tahini (which produced the grey ones you can see in the photo) but equally yum with the usual tahini …. and probably a more appealing colour 🙂 Ultimately though it is a great recipe to play around with and create your own wee frozen treats.

Straight out of the Freezer

We just create half batches at a time so that is the recipe I have shared with you. I used a loaf tin with some baking paper as a liner; to make it easier to get out and slice once it is frozen. As you can see you can also jazz it up a little by sprinkling some sesame seeds to top before you freeze it. So without further prattle here is the recipe for you to play with ……

Frozen Vegan Fudge

1/2 Cup coconut cream

1/4 Cup Nut butter or Tahini

1 Tbs Maple syrup or Golden syrup if you want it sweeter

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 Tbs Coconut oil

Pinch of sea salt

  • Blend all the ingredients in a mini blender/kitchen whizz until smooth
  • Pour into a lined loaf tin
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish
  • Freeze for at least 2 hours
  • Remove and slice ready to eat.
  • Enjoy 🙂

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoy life in whatever shape it is taking.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

A Merry Vegan (& GF) Christmas Cake

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Well, I thought I would be good and post this before Christmas all ready for Christmas Eve baking ….. as with many GF recipes it is best eaten within a day or two so plenty of time to get the ingredients ready 🙂 It is the same one that I share each year but figure better to have it in your face than searching for it!

Decorating the letterbox

Themselves have been super busy, in and out of activities over the past month: combinations of activities, lessons, competitions (both Judo and sailing), broken collar bones (himself), holidays and a tummy bug (herself) has meant the time has flown by and it is hard to believe that the end of the year is so close. This year we are hanging close to home which will be the first time in a while … have to say I’m looking forward to not having to travel! The excitement is building for themselves though and while they have decorated the letterbox for a neighbourhood search, Christmas Eve is the big night when we get the tree up and the decorations out proper. Another Christmas Eve highlight each year is to drive around the area looking at all the Christmas lights ….. though this does mean a tight schedule for Santa to arrive 🙂 Now all we need is for the weather to improve as it still doesn’t really feel like Summer is properly here with all the muggy, overcast days and rain we have been having.

Merry Christmas …. the non vegan have also been doing some gingerbread reindeer making

This recipe is pretty easy and great for us as it means the vegans amongst us still have a taste of ‘traditional’ Christmas fare. I have halved the original recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner (it is best eaten within 2 days). Sadly, I can’t remember which book I got the recipe from all those years ago and I have altered it quite a bit over the few of times I have baked it so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly.

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while I like simple and quick recipes. This one is a little out of the norm for me as it required cooking and mashing some kumara prior to mixing everything in one pot …. thankfully I survived the ordeal as it wasn’t quite as daunting as it seemed when I first read it 🙂   I figure one extra dish for some yummy Christmas cake was worth the effort ….. at least once a year that is.  The almond essence and decoration definitely gave it that Christmassy look and taste while using the vanilla essence instead, and flagging the decoration, produced a good fruit cake for any occasion.

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So here is it for you to play around with and enjoy over this festive season and beyond ….

A Merry Vegan Christmas Cake

1 Tb maple syrup

250 gm of raisins or sultanas

1 Cup of water

1 small apple (peeled and grated)

62 gms chopped almonds – or in my case bashed almonds 

1/2 cup of mashed kumara (doesn’t matter if it is cold or warm)

1.5 Tb olive oil

1 tsp almond essence (vanilla also works fine if you just want a fruit cake)

3/4 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup buckwheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

extra almonds to decorate – optional

  • Bring maple syrup, fruit and water to the boil in a large pot then remove from the heat.
  • Add apple, bashed almonds, kumara, essence along with oil and mix well.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well again.
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and gently press in extra almonds to decorate.
  • Bake at 160 C for 45 mins and then leave to cool in the oven for the next 15-20 mins before placing on a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

Hope this finds you surrounded by those you love and who love you, enjoying each other.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Best vegan & GF brownie

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Well it has been a very long time since I have been on here. Life just seems to have ticked along and without any Infant Massage course mamas to nourish I haven’t really been doing that much baking.

Checking out the Manawatu over the long weekend here in NZ

It is the first time I have had lots of allergies in the class so my planned chocolate cookies were out and I needed to find a good alternative. Start the internet search for something just as chocolatey! Thankfully Loving it Vegan came to the rescue with their awesome Vegan Gluten Free Brownie recipe

I have to say that this is the best brownie I have had in a long time – both before and after becoming vegan. Even the non-vegans in and around the house were fighting to get a piece of this delicious stuff 😉 While it is vegan and gluten free it is far, far, far from being sugar free! Probably best baked when you have a crowd to feed as it is very hard to resist having ‘just one more piece’.

Delicious vegan and gluten free brownie

I haven’t made any changes to this recipe however as there is quite a lot of ads and writing before the recipe appears on Loving it Vegan, I thought I would share it here as I used it and highlight some key parts.

The original blog post has both cup and weight measurements however I found that my NZ cup measures didn’t equal the South African weights given. For best results I just went with weights which is what I’ll share below along with the NZ options for great vegan chocolate ….. Whittakers of course 🙂

Another thing I learnt when trialling this recipe was that you need a tin that can separate (expandable ones are perfect). The brownie is very dense and trying to remove it from the tin only resulted in ripped paper and broken up brownie …. much to themselves delight I must say. Thankfully I had one that I picked up in a second hand shop ages ago that expands from a square tin to a rectangle. If you can’t find one or don’t have one then the circular tins with the removable bottom would be the best bet.

The last bit of vital information is to know the actual temperature of your oven. When I first cooked this brownie it came out a bit too gooey so taking the advice from in the blog I got my trusty oven thermometer out – thanks Linette 🙂 – and checked where things were at. The inside oven temp was about 30C below what the dial said so once I cranked it up a bit and retested we were good to go. Of course you can just bake it a bit longer too 🙂

So without anymore chatter onto the recipe ……

Vegan GF brownie

  • 272gm GF flour (I used Edmonds)
  • 84gm cocoa powder
  • 400gm white sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tb instant coffee
  • 240ml soy buttermilk (240ml regular soy milk and 1Tb fresh lemon juice combined and left to curdle)
  • 240ml coconut oil (melted)
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 88gm vegan chocolate chunks (Whittakers Dark Ghana smashed up)
  • 88gm vegan chocolate chips (Pak n Save have these)

– Pre heat the oven to 180 C (check your oven temp and adjust if necessary)

– Mix the soy milk and lemon juice and leave to curdle

– In a separate bowl combine all the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder and mix well

– Add melted coconut oil and vanilla essence to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined

– Add buttermilk and mix well

– Add chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. Mix well.

– Pour into a lined square tin (preferably one that you can separate)

– Bake for 40 mins or until the top cracks and only thing on the cake tester is possibly chocolate.

– Leave to cool for 15 mins before removing from the tin then put on a cooling rack.

RESIST the urge to slice and eat now …. it is so much better completely cold – we know, we tried 🙂

– When the brownie is completely cooled then cut into pieces with a hot knife.

Well that is it for this week ….. see you next time I’m inspired to get into the kitchen 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Vegan & GF Christmas Cake

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As you can see I haven’t been very active on the blog front lately.  It feels like our December has very quickly disappeared in between weekends away with themselves, catching up with friends and doing jobs around here preparing for visitors to stay.

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The candy cane tree

That hasn’t stopped themselves though getting super excited about Christmas!  They have been writing loads of Christmas letter, making presents and wrapping up a storm.  They have even had a bit of animal tending thrown in as they found a baby bunny and a baby bird abandoned in the backyard.  However with all the cleaning, weeding, creating, caring, wrapping and writing I haven’t thought much about Christmas kai at all let alone a Christmas Cake! So here is a bit of a repeat recipe from last year (that we are going to make again tomorrow) to get your chops around 🙂

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Feeding baby bird just before we put it outside (after it called its parents and they replied) where its parents came and continued to feed it until it got up the strength to fly away.

Sadly, I can’t remember which book I got the recipe from all those years ago and I have altered it quite a bit over the couple of times I have baked it so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly 🙂  I have halved the recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner.  As with many GF vegan recipes the sooner the munching is completed the better … we stretched it to three days with success although day three wasn’t as yum as day one and two’s munching 🙂

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As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while I like simple and quick recipes. This one is a little out of the norm for me as it required cooking and mashing some kumara prior to mixing everything in one pot …. thankfully I survived the ordeal as it wasn’t quite as daunting as it seemed when I first read it 😉  I figure one extra dish for some yummy Christmas cake was worth the effort ….. at least once a year that is.  The almond essence and decoration definitely gave it that Christmassy look and taste while using the vanilla essence instead, and flagging the decoration, produced a good fruit cake for any occasion.

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So here is it for you to play around with and enjoy over this festive season and beyond ….

A Merry Vegan Christmas Cake

1 Tb maple syrup

250 gm of raisins or sultanas

1 Cup of water

1 small apple (peeled and grated)

62 gms chopped almonds – or in my case bashed almonds 😉

1/2 cup of mashed kumara (doesn’t matter if it is cold or warm)

1.5 Tb olive oil

1 tsp almond essence (vanilla also works fine if you just want a fruit cake)

3/4 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup buckwheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

extra almonds to decorate – optional

  • Bring maple syrup, fruit and water to the boil in a large pot then remove from the heat.
  • Add apple, bashed almonds, kumara, essence along with oil and mix well.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well again.
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and gently press in extra almonds to decorate.
  • Bake at 160 C for 45 mins and then leave to cool in the oven for the next 15-20 mins before placing on a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

Hope this finds you surrounded by those you love and who love you, enjoying each other.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Party time, Chocolate cake time

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And just like that our youngest is another year older! Yes, it is party time in this household and as he is really into Stars Wars at the moment it is a themed one for the first time.

I have to confess that we’re not really the ‘go all out’ type of family over birthdays, it is usually a quiet family occasion with maybe some close friends. However, after a fairly trying and difficult year it was really nice to have something happy and positive to focus on after all the other rubbish that has been going on.  Themselves have been finding Star Wars things left, right and centre lately where we would normally not have noticed them at all ….. like garden ornaments in our local hardware store 🙂

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Our hardware shop find … himself made the light-saber to make it look all the more authentic.

So we have been decorating, preparing and baking up a storm for our little gathering.  I have to admit that I’m feeling a bit smug at actually making the requested storm-trooper head cake look like a storm-trooper head …… there were a few nail-biting moments I can tell you.  Thankfully with a good vegan chocolate cake recipe, a little thought before hand and a free day put aside we got there 🙂

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The cake all finished

Himself has been sugar free and gluten free (along with vegan) for a while now, he is so much better at sticking to his principles than I would ever be, however for his big day he decided that a bit of gluten and sugar were needed to produce a super yummy cake for all.  I thought I had shared this recipe a while back however since I can’t find it I will share again.  It is a great vegan cake which you can adapt to make GF, sugar free or loaded up with Gluten and sugar 🙂 This cake doesn’t rise a huge amount so, because we needed a bit of depth, we decided to create two and layered them up with jam in between.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • 1 &1/2 Cups of flour (you can use GF premixed flour too)
  • 1/2 Cup of sugar (we have also reduced this to 1/4 C, used maple syrup instead & used dextrose)
  • 1/8 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Cup cold water
  • 1/2 Cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 Tb white vinegar

-Mix all the dry ingredients together.

-Add the water, oil and vanilla essence in and mix until smooth

-Add the vinegar in and stir thoroughly

-Pour into a baking paper lined tin

-Bake at 180 Celcius for 20-25 mins or until the cake tester comes out clean.

-ENJOY

 

Hope this finds you celebrating your own milestones and may the force be with you 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Quick and Easy Snacks

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The sun is still shining here and for the end of May the days are surprisingly warm …. especially in our little sun trap.  So with the temperature outside being balmy for this time of year and the temperature inside being hot, due to babies needing to be fully undressed for massage, I thought that a cooler treat would be ideal last week.

SAM_1777

Making the most of the good weather …. walking up Hapuku River

These super easy treats came about, as many things do, through my resistance to pay for something that I was sure I could make at home.  That ‘give it a go’ mentally is definitely a kiwi trait I think, definitely a very strong trait of mine anyway, and combine that with a bit of frugal living and … well … you end up trying to create at home (making 45 of them) what would cost you $9 in the supermarket for just 10 balls.  Back then I named these little treats Snackerballs, after themselves telling me that they weren’t ‘Frooze balls’ ….. then low and behold a year or two later I see that ‘Snackaballs’ appeared on the shelves.  Obviously onto a good thing with the name back then, shame I didn’t trademark it 🙂

These are another ‘one pot wonder’ which you can whip up quickly and easily, adjusting them to your taste-buds pretty easily.  I just store them in the fridge so they can be made whenever and last for ages … if they aren’t gobbled up before that.  Over the years of making these we have tried lots of variations; adding different things like cranberries at Christmas, grated chocolate, nuts, seeds, carob and recently ground LSA (Linseed, Sunflower seeds and Almonds).  We found Healtheries LSA Superfruits , which is super yum, a while ago when making some apple crumble and I have to say that adding this did give the snackerballs a bit more firmness which I quite liked. Though it does have a bit of sugar added to it (in the blueberries for some reason) which some of you may what to avoid.  

Anyway here is the basic recipe I worked out and then the only limit is your imagination!

Snackerballs

  • 1 Cup dried dates
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 2 Cups desiccated Coconut
  • 3 Tablespoons black chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husks
  • 1 Tablespoon ground LSA (optional)

-Soak the dates in the water for 10-15 mins and then mash into a smooth paste – of course if you have a blender this is easier 🙂

-Stir in the other ingredients and mix until fully blended

-Shape the mixture into small balls (makes around 45 with this recipe) and put into a container.

-Refrigerate and enjoy

SAM_1761

Packed up and ready to go to class

Hope this finds you all enjoying tasty treats with your loved ones.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz